Opening Prayer Given at the May 12, 2012 UN Conference on Women and Indigeny

(Ten years ago today, I gave the opening prayer at a conference held at the “Breaking the Silence: Beginning the Healing” conference held under the auspices of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and which was a part of their year-long focus on the effects of the Doctrine of Discovery. I was likely the only Heathen there, and I was asked to open the gathering with a prayer to our collective dead. This is the prayer I gave, and while some of the language rings much differently today (to the point that were I writing this prayer today, I would rephrase certain elements to avoid association with the left), the core message stands).

Let us begin our work today by calling upon our ancestors.

Let us call upon the Algonquin, the Wappingers Confederacy, and all other Native peoples who walked this land and whom this land remembers.

Let us begin by calling upon the mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers of our lines, all the way back to the time our respective peoples began.

Let us begin by reaching into the past, to the strength and wisdom of our forebears, for guidance, as we seek to transform our present.

I call now to our collective ancestors, women and men who laid down their lives, who faced conquest, struggle, potential obliteration, who stood strong and proud so that each of their descendants might have a chance at survival, at life, at continuance. I call to those men and women whose joys and sacrifices, struggles and successes culminated in each one of us sitting here today. Hear us, oh honored dead.

Those of you who came before us, living lives rooted in your own ancestral ways, be with us here today. Be with us as we come together in dialogue and peace. Inspire us that from here, buoyed by the strength of our collective passion, our collective words, our collective insights, we might go forth and transform our oh-so-damaged world. Root us, oh Ancestors, in our respective indigeny. Root us in the knowledge that indigeny is about celebrating the dignity of every living being on the planet; indigeny is about recognizing that we are indisputably connected to the earth, the land, and most of all to each other. Oh ancestors, let our work today honor that awareness with grace.

Our mothers, our fathers, our foremothers, our forefathers all the way back to the time of the beginning are calling us to action. I know you all hear that call. May our warrior ancestors, who never, ever went gently into the good night of conquest, who fought and laid down their lives sometimes en masse for the survival of their traditions, our traditions, be with us, let us call upon them now. Defiant Ones, proud and enduring Ones, men and women both. Give us the strength to reject that which would poison and corrupt our connections to our ancestors, our Holy Powers, this land upon which we live, and each other. Give us the wisdom to know in our bones that sustainability does not come from disconnected governments and avaricious corporations but from the belly of our ancestors and the traditions they called their own, traditions that are our birthright, our inheritance.

Oh Ancestors, give us the courage to confront privilege – our own most of all – to actively engage with ideas and concepts that may be painful, to engage with mindfulness, respect, and authenticity.

Most of all, let us never give up, never surrender, never step back from this fight, no matter what hostility or pressure we might face. We too are warriors in a struggle that has spanned generations. Stand with us, oh our beloved dead. Grant us a measure of your strength. We carry the medicine of our ancestors. Oh Ancestors hear our vow: no one here will be legislated, educated, starved, murdered, shamed out of existence. We will not allow our traditions – whatever those ancestral traditions might be, for here we sit from all corners of the globe united by a common purpose – to be forgotten. We will not allow the land that cradles the bones of our foremothers and forefathers to be devasted. Many things can be lost or taken by the rushing press of dubious progress, or through the violent devastation of conquest, but indigeny is not one of them. It flourishes in each of us. It is in the soil upon which we walk. It is hidden in our skin and blood and bones, in the connection from parent to child to grandchild and beyond. Oh our mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, help us stay consciously rooted in that knowledge.

May we hold strong. May our ancestors sustain us.

It will take both sides, living and dead, to right the balance of this world.

May we hold strong and never bow our heads in fear.

We are each our ancestral lines walking. The time is now and I call upon our ancestors: give us ears to hear and eyes to see and the courage to go fearlessly wherever we must go, to do whatever we must do, to protect and heal our broken world.

With the blessing of the ancestors – all of our collective and honored dead – may we be given strength and may we always remember: we do not do this work alone. We are our ancestral lines walking. We come with nations of our ancestors at our back. May they be honored. May they be hailed. May they be remembered. May they inspire us.

Advertisement

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on May 10, 2022, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This is a lovely prayer. I say keep it exactly as it is. Neither the Left, nor the Right, nor the Center should have sole claim on any particular use of language. Piety and devotion are what’s most important, not someone’s political views, and that should always be at the forefront when composing any kind of prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Ryan. There’s nothing said in the prayer that is not true. For instance, when it mentions the need for strength to call out privilege. Are there people that take that to the umpteenth degree and go overboard? Totally. Is it still necessary? Absolutely. Especially in our case. Let’s not forget that we as Polytheists are an underprivileged group in the West in and of ourselves and compete against people that really do not know what it’s like to live in a society that is actively against your religion while you barely have any kind of healthy community to hold onto. That’s just one example of why we do need the strength to call out privilege. So clearly this speaks to a fact of our reality that goes beyond political allegiance

      Like

      • Political allegiance is, in my opinion, irrelevant when it comes to devotion and piety. I am decidedly Left of Center on most issues, and I’m sure many of the more hardline conservatives would even accuse me of being “woke” but I honestly could not care less how someone else identifies politically so long as they are pious. If they serve the Gods, Land, and Ancestors well, that’s all that matters to me. The only exception I would make is for Neo-Nazis and other bigots. They have no place in our (or any) community.

        Like

      • Well yeah, that’s what I’m saying. It’s not a political prayer

        Like

  2. ganglerisgrove

    Thank you, guys. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: